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What is Pheochromocytoma?

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Pheochromocytoma (PCC) is a rare tumor that usually forms in cells in the middle of the adrenal glands. The tumor can cause the adrenal glands to produce too much of the hormones norepinephrine (noradrenaline) and epinephrine (adrenaline).These hormones together, control heart rate, metabolism, blood pressure, and the body’s stress response. Increased levels of these hormones can put the body into a stress-response state, causing blood pressure to increase.

The cells that make up these tumors are known as chromaffin cells. When chromaffin cells grow abnormally within the adrenal glands they are called pheochromocytomas, but when they develop elsewhere in the body they are called paragangliomas. Both PCCs and paragangliomas can produce excessive hormones called catecholamines.

Although the disease is rare, if a person is affected by Pheochromocytoma, it can hamper diary life. Therefore in case you or a love one is experiencing any sort of symptoms of PCC, proper guidance is essential. For this, please contact the best general surgeon in Lahore or one in your city, right away.

Causes

A PCC can develop at any age, but is most common in early to middle adulthood. The exact causes of the disease are still unknown. However, it is believed that the condition is often genetically inherited.

Symptoms

Some of the most common symptoms of PCC include:

  • Headaches
  • Sweating
  • High blood pressure that may be resistant to conventional medications
  • Rapid heart rate or palpitations
  • Abdominal pain
  • Irritability and anxiety
  • Constipation
  • Tremors
  • Paleness in the face
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weight loss

Diagnosis

A number of different tests may be conducted in order o make a diagnosis for PSS. These include:

  • MRI
  • PET imaging
  • Laboratory tests to assess hormone levels
  • Blood plasma test for catecholamine and metanephrine levels
  • Urine metanephrines test for catecholamine and metanephrine levels

Treatment

  • Surgical removal of the tumor: This is usually the main method of treatment. However, due to the importance of the adrenal glands, this surgery may be very difficult.
  • In case a PCC is found to be cancerous, cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy may be required post-surgery.

Complications

If left untreated, PCC may result in a higher risk for the following conditions:

  • High blood pressure
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Heart  attacks
  • Multiple organ failure

However, surgical treatments of PCC involve also complications. The surgery affects powerful hormones in the body. Moreover, during surgery, some conditions may also develop. These include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Low blood pressure
  • Irregular heartbeat

Early diagnosis is not always enough to ensure successful treatment. Because of the difficulty of the surgery, it is absolutely essential that professional help is sought. Therefore in case you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of PCC, please seek out a surgeon who is highly skilled and able to handle possible complications. Consult the best general surgeon in Islamabad or your area of residence for early diagnosis and effective treatment.